The Detroit Red Wings snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night with a 4-3 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The two points pushed Detroit to the No. 8 slot in the Western Conference standings with 58 points.
A perfectly-placed backhand pass from forward Pavel Datsyuk set up Todd Bertuzzi on a breakaway, scoring the game’s first goal when he beat goalkeeper Josh Harding at the 7:52 mark in the first period. Minnesota knotted the game up at 1-1 with a tally midway through the second period. Two markers from Detroit forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller in the final stanza handed the Wings a 3-1 lead, but Martin Havlat’s redirection pulled the Wild within one with 6:12 remaining in the game. One minute later, Minnesota left wing Andrew Brunette beat rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard five-hole to even the game up at three goals apiece and force overtime.
According to a joking head coach Mike Babcock, defenseman Andreas Lilja, who has been out for almost a year, has not lived up to his responsibilities (ensuring the team practices the shootout each week). The white team (the first and third lines) won the shootout battle in Wednesday’s practice and the extra practice appeared to pay off as it took eight rounds in the shootout to decide Thursday’s game with Drew Miller scoring to give the Wings two much-needed points in the standings.
“I just thought it was a good win for our team,” Babcock said to FSDetroit following the game. “We got two points tonight and that’s what we came for.”
In Other News
- The Detroit Free Press reports that forward Todd Bertuzzi and GM Ken Holland will work on a contract extension as both sides would like to see Big Bert stay in Detroit. A couple of DRW bloggers reacted to this report: Motown Wings and Red Wings from SoCal.
- Injury Updates: Forward Valtteri Filppula missed practice on Wednesday due to a sore groin, but participated in the optional morning skate and played last night against Minnesota. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall believes he may return to the lineup next week if he continues progressing like he has this week.
- The coaching staff has started to ponder possible line combination with a few players expected to return from their respective injuries over the next few weeks.
- Both MLive.com and The Detroit News point out that Pavel Datsyuk’s drop in offense this season can be attributed to the rash of player injuries, forcing the team to abandon its puck possession style of play until the Wings’ skilled players start returning to the lineup.
- Dan Rosen of NHL.com writes that Babcock is happy with how the Wings have been playing in spite of a three-game losing streak going into Thursday’s game against Minnesota.
- Veteran netminder Chris Osgood voiced his frustrations about the lack of starts to the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com. Some of the DRW bloggers at Abel to Yzerman, Babcock’s Death Stare, Nightmare on Helm Street, On the Wings, and The Production Line responded to Osgood’s comments.
- James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail created a table with the number of man games lost by each NHL team so far this season. The Red Wings rank second behind only Edmonton with 233 games lost to injury as of Wednesday (Jan. 20).
- Winging It In Motown takes a look at some shootout stats concerning the Wings.
- Out of Bounds lists five reasons why the Wings will make the playoffs and five reasons why they may fall short.
- Puck Daddy has two interesting interviews with Pavel Datsyuk and Steve Yzerman courtesy of Dmitry Chesnokov.